Barrier is multiple computers one keyboard and mouse software. It switches one keyboard and one mouse between two or more computers. It is a software KM (keyboard-mouse) switch. I use it with my Linux Mint computer and my Windows 11 computer. You can share your clipboard between computers, too.
I can move my mouse and keyboard between the two of them with just a mouse pointer movement. You can see my two computers in my pic at the top of this page.
Since I have installed and run this on my Linux Mint computer and my Windows 11 computer, I will give you instructions on how to do that on those two computers. You could also run this on two Linux Mint computers, or two Windows computers, or even more computers. Barrier also runs on MacOS/OS X, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD.
These instructions assume that you have already installed Start Menu X on your Windows computers. I recommend that you do this first.
Click Menu –> Administration –> Software Manager. You will get a window something like the pic in the above left. In the upper-right of this window, type in barrier. You will see the picture in the above right. Choose Barrier, as highlighted. Click Install and continue to install the software.
Make sure that Barrier starts with Linux Mint. While running Barrier on Linux Mint, click Barrier > Change Settings > click checkbox Start Barrier on startup > OK > close window. You can instead click the Linux Mint menu > Accessories > Startup Applications > + > Choose application > Barrier > Add application > close window.
See the picture above. Then click Download. Your download should happen automatically.
Make sure that Barrier starts with Windows 11. While running Barrier on Windows 11, click Barrier > Change Settings > click checkbox Start Barrier on startup > OK > close window.
You need to find out the IP Address for each of your computers. This is a little geeky, so I walk you through the process.
Click Menu –> Preferences –> System Settings. Under Hardware, click Network. Look up the value for IPv4 Address. Write this down. Close the two windows.
Click Start Menu –> Control Panel –> Network and Sharing Center. Under View your basic network information and set up connections, find Connections:, and click the connection link after that. Click the Details… button. In the pop up window, look for IPv4 Address. Write it down. Close all three windows.
To run Barrier (for server or client), click Menu –> Accessories –> Barrier.
To run Barrier (for server or client), click Start Menu –> Barrier.
I have my the keyboard and mouse physically connected to my Linux Mint computer. This is the server. The keyboard and mouse are virtually connected to my Windows 11 computer over my network connection. Here are what the configuration windows look like on my computers.
Remember, that your server computer is the one that has the keyboard and mouse physically connected to it.
Now, double-click the new monitor pic in that middle square. Name your screen and hit OK. Do the same for all of your other monitors (probably only one other). Click Start.
On your Server configuration window (mine above on left), click Configure Server…. The window below will appear, but will not have the two computers listed. Drag the monitor from the upper right to the center square. If you mess up, and place it somewhere else, just click the new monitor pic once, then hit the Delete key.
When you are finished, yours should look somewhat like the picture. The PowerEdge-T410 is my Linux Mint computer in the middle. The LAPTOP-UJLCQU18 is my Windows 11 computer on the right.
Client & Server
I found that in order to get Barrier to work, I had to disable SSL on both client and server. To do that, while in Barrier, press the F4 key on your keyboard. The Settings window will popup. Under Networking, unclick Enable SSL, then click OK. Do this on both the client computer and the server computer.
Also, make sure that the Screen name listed on the server software is the same as the name of the Screen name for the client computer. If this is incorrect, Barrier will now work.
I have found that sometimes the mouse pointer likes to jump back from the client monitor to the server monitor. If you loose track of the mouse pointer, keep this in mind. This happens when:
- logging in
- double-clicking to install software
When moving the mouse to the other monitor, the mouse pointer gets stuck at the border, multiple times (usually three). I need to keep pushing the mouse pointer over. You might need to do this too.
Also, the mouse pointer will not traverse monitor-to-monitor if you have open a Start Menu or a pull-down menu.
Ensure that Barrier is not running more than one instance. When running, on both Linux Mint and Windows 11, you should see a Barrier icon on the taskbar in the lower-right. If it is running more than once, you will see more than one icon. Shut down all but one instance of the program.